In Naya Pakistan, Civil Servants Are Harassed For Supporting Minority Rights
Fauzia Yazdani writes about the incident in Attock whereby a woman civil servant was harassed and asked to proclaim her faith after she called for unity among all Pakistanis including Ahmadis. She argues that even government representatives face bigotry in ‘Naya Pakistan’.
Prime Minster Imran Khan has on various occasions recognized civil servants as critical to the agenda of his government. Being executive arm of the administration, he asks them to serve regardless of political affiliation. He assures them that the government would support them against all kind of pressures and he would be standing by their side, should the need be. there is a time.
Zoom Way in Naya Pakistan: Ms. Jannat Hussain Nekokara is the Assistant Commissioner Attock. She delivered a speech at an event marking Human Rights Day in the district and said:
“We should give due rights to Non-Muslims Pakistanis, we should give them their due regard, we have unfortunately gotten stuck in these religious divisions. Someone identifies as Shia, someone as Sunni, someone as an Ahmadi, someone as a Wahabi, we should dissolve these differences and instead identify ourselves only as Muslims and Pakistanis.”
This irks religio-sensitivities of a bunch of ill-informed students – 18-20 years. They gang-up at district administration office, asking “how dare she club Ahmadis with any Muslim category when 1973 Constitution has declared them non-Muslim”. Imagine the power of mobocracy that lets them twist the arm of the government and its executive representative.
Her superior, presumably the DCO, instead of leading to establish writ of the government against mobocracy throws her under the religio-radical bus. His stance could/should have been that (a) such act of hooliganism is incitement of violence which is punishable under law; and (b) peaceful dialogue is the only way to register protest. But not in Pakistan.
The woman civil servant is summoned to explain herself to these students who continuously harass her by standing and aggressively pointing at her; besides being loud and disrespectful. They recorded her video. Hats off to the young officer who kept her composure and held her head high. She used the communication skills to calmly demonstrate the difference of ‘Declared Non-Muslim”, yet “Equal Right Holder’ citizens of Pakistan.
Zoom-Out Naya Pakistan: The face and writ of government is being defiled in Attock. The senior officers of the district administration and police representative in that room chose to stay mute with loud expressions “it’s her not us, we are not even here so don’t even look at us”.
None of the officer interjected, came to her support or asked the students to behave and mind their manners. She calmly reiterated that she had spoken of human rights – rights of non-Muslim Pakistanis and rights of minority – that require us not to discriminate and stay united to protect us from external enemies.
In the end, she is pushed to put her personal religious belief on the table, reaffirm her religious vows aloud and repeat what hooligans wants to hear. Conveniently, a non- issue is allowed to become a religious issue and hooligans are given due legitimacy.
Zoom in– Purana Pakistan: Radically-charged Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) Pakistan takes Islamabad hostage for 14 days asking how dare the government of PML-N approve a syntax change in oath of candidature for the NA candidates; which as per them is an effort to mainstream Ahmadis.
Interestingly, all political parties were part of approving this change. Yet PTI took highest religious moral ground for political mileage. The protesters got violent; political government had jelly legs; District Administration and Police gets the physical beating; the Minister for Law resigns and to-date gives explains of his faith; and military mediates to end the show.
Zoom-Out Naya Pakistan: PTI has to its credit introduction of mob-hyping as a rightful act to defy writ of the government and political religio-legitimization. PTI is in government now and the PM is very proud of his ‘Madina ki Riyast’ model. The Madina Ki Rayast protect the religious minorities and marginalized and upholds rule of law; whereas interest groups are using religio-mobocracy, unabashedly to the extent where the PM himself needs to be protected by trending #Imrankhan-sacha-ashiq-e-rasool-hae.
The PTI promised rule of law and no political interference to civil servants. Yet day in – day out civil servants are being sacrificed, as before, at the altar of political liking. PM promised to watch their back if they deliver on merit yet they are dumped without a whimper. Therefore, when handful of underage and ill-informed students attempt to defile writ of the government with religio-mobocracy rod, the senior civil servants immediately throw junior officer under the bus.
Surely, this will get the seniors some marks out of 30% held by Central Selection Board at the time of promotion. What is in for juniors? Oh, you are on your own.